Chapters 22 & 23 Web Questions

Portrait of Georg Giese, a German merchant living in London, by Hans Holbein the Younger, 1532

Below please find the first web questions for the course, written by your classmate Zexun Yu. Please answer at least one of these questions with a comment of a paragraph or more.

1) Capitalism seemed well suited to develop the economy of the early modern world. Yet since then, capitalism has produced many crises that caused people to suffer, it has saturated our lives with products that we don’t need, and has contributed to the destruction of the environment. So does capitalism still suit our society? Do we need to make any changes to our economic system?

2) Absolute monarchy and constitutional monarchy both developed in Europe during the early modern era. Why do you think constitutional monarchy still exists today while absolute monarchy has disappeared? What do you think about this situation? What made absolute monarchy fade away?

3) In early modern Europe, the Church not only controlled religion, but also wielded considerable political power. Before the early modern period, most people absolutely believed in the Church and did not question it because they thought it was the spokesperson of God. So no matter what Church said or did, people thought it was right. But this began to change with the Scientific Revolution. Some people began to pose questions that challenged the Church’s positions. What circumstances led them to start to this questioning?


18 Comments on “Chapters 22 & 23 Web Questions”

  1. Gulnaz Aglyamova says:

    3) The evidence from scientific discoveries at that time weakened the position of the Church because the postulates of the Church about the structure of Universe were in contradiction with new scientific facts and theories. For example, Copernicus theory that Earth is merely one of the other planets, which revolve around the sun and the fact that other planets may be habitable too, broke the Christian teaching about uniqueness of the Earth and humans. In addition, the discoveries of Galileo Galilei and Isaac Newton helped people become more open-minded and more interested in observing the laws of natural world and empirical evidences rather than relying on theological doctrine. Also, Voltaire started to bring relatively new value – individual freedom and was one of the famous critics of Roman Catholic Church. Also, the inventing printing press made more people aware of these important turns in science and philosophy and led them to question the Church position.

  2. N. Calliste says:

    I believe that the Scientific Revolution led to the change of the power the church because previous findings were debunked. People had used the scientific equations since roman times and when it was discovered that they weren’t exactly accurate scientists, philosophers, etc. started wondering what else may have been wrong. They started looking further into the universe rather than thinking everything revolved around earth, which was a theory the church used to lead people into believing God made us uniquely. Another circumstance that may have led to challeges towards the church was the greed and power members of the church would use against their followers, which was called out on by Martin Luther and other religious advocates.

  3. Abdul Awal says:

    Capitalism develops in early modern world with East India Company. It’s one of the important topic which always around in our society, because it’s part of our daily lives. We always invest money by hoping to make profit in future. Before we invest we should know the positive and negative effects of it, such as risk and profit. Sometime, investment brings crises that caused people to suffer, such as; using child labor around the world. Still now, there are many counties where child labor exists. Another example is global warming. Many counties already started suffering because of global warming. Our society will never be able to stop investment because this the way we make money. However, we should try our best to invest in safe environment for better future.

  4. Jemima Georges says:

    In the 1600s the citizens of England, though they were not under an absolute monarchy had experienced a sort of absolute control under the leadership of Oliver Cromwell. After he found success in beheading the king he drove the country into dictatorship, and when a country has known freedom and representation of the common people like the English of the 15-1600s (before Cromwell came into power), they will fight for that freedom. This led to the Glorious Revolution, restoring the constitutional monarchy of the country. Other countries in Europe who were under absolute monarchy had their citizens suffer under unfair treatment (that came in the form of taxes, imposing personal rights, etc) which led to revolutions. In short, the reason why constitutional monarchy exists today is based on these historical struggles which led individuals to wanting their voices to be heard and having rights of their own while at the same time giving away some of their rights in exchange for security and equality. This is why absolute monarchy has faded. I believe that society runs best when a little bit of power is given to everyone.

  5. Ding. Zeng says:

    The reason of absolute monarchy disappeared: 1) The person acting as king or queen has no limited power to control whole society; finally, this absolute power lead to corruption. 2) When aristocracy benefit was harmed by a king or queen’s absolution power. The aristocracy eventually forced the king or queen to give up their unlimited power. 3) The improvement of society by education spreading and scientific evolution. Constitutional monarchy is appeared after absolute monarchy, which weaken the power of king or queen. Constitutional monarchies employ a parliamentary system to regulate his or her respective government. Therefore, constitutional monarchy still exists today.

  6. Dani Chitrik says:

    3) The reason why people started to question the authority of the church on matters of science, can be seen a progression of events. At first alchemy lost its dazzling appeal to most people who studied the sciences, and Aristotelian science was debunked, astrology was attacked due to Newtonian physics and modern astronomy took over the scientific world. Scientific societies started to spring up all over Europe, and scientists started to realize that the world may be predictable on a mathematical scale. Galileo, Copernicus, and Kepler challenged the church and changed the way people approached science, the public began to realize that the church may after-all be mistaken. When Descartes created the scientific method, by which to distinguish pseudo science from real science, it gave people the courage to think out the “religious box, ” enabling them to create their own theories about the universe.

  7. Sheri Greenbaum says:

    Question 1:
    Capitalism still suits our society because there is no other system that this country can be run under. Consider other “possibilities”: communism, Marxism, socialism. All of these systems, in theory, can be positive and beneficial to the country, but only in theory. History has proven that in any of these systems, there are major flaws. Capitalism is the best economic system in which to run our country. But as the question says, “capitalism has produced many crises that caused people to suffer, it has saturated our lives with products that we don’t need, and has contributed to the destruction of the environment,” and so yes, we need to make changes to capitalism. The society we live in is controlled by consumerism; people want to be the best, have the best and competition is never ending. Modern society thrives through the effect of capitalism, but there are certain aspects that should be changed. One example would be a law to control monopolies; no one company should have all business; wealth should be spread around so that everyone can profit.

  8. Tabia Chu says:

    In response to question #1:

    I agree that capitalism may be the cause of many crises, such as global warming which Abdul has addressed, however it would be unrealistic if we expected an economical solution with no drawbacks. It seems that the source of these crises is not the sole responsibility of capitalism. As an individual, the options we do not take often have consequences. Now if you multiply that mistake by our entire population, surely the consequences will become severe. I think it is not the fault of our economical system, but a failure within our population to think about how our actions will impact our future.

    In regards to the saturation of our lives with products we do not need, I am unsure if you are referring to all of the gadgets we have available today. If this is the case, then I feel the need to point out that society relies heavily on technology. Sure, we may not need the new iPad, however it makes our everyday lives simpler and increases productivity. It is the lack of discipline that is responsible for what can be considered the abuse of technology. 

    In my opinion, capitalism is not the source of our problems. Even with a different economic solution in place, within a few years, people will find a way to find the disadvantages of the new system.

    Take for instance, the case of Nick Leeson. (Discussed on pages 9 – 13 in Fulcher’s book) Although Leeson was able to help Barings make a profit, he abused his position by creating a “special error account.” The existence of this account allowed for transactions to be hidden, making gambling away the company’s revenue easy and discreet. That is, until they discover that a large amount of money was missing from their company…which they did. Leeson ended up going to jail six years. A system that is put into place cannot be responsible for the actions of the people using the same system. We no longer exist under the belief that the government is appointed by God and is the “head”, whereas we are the limbs of the body, therefore we are the ones to blame for practically most of the “shortfalls” of capitalism. 

    • Jemima Georges says:

      I definitely agree with you. Capitalism is what keeps us together as a society. The reason why this generation of civilization thrives far better than any other generation is because of capitalism. Hence, why it has remained as “the” method for attaining profit. It still stands even when corruption threatened and still threatens to make this method out to be “the bad guy”. Thus, it is our actions and how we choose to drive how we capitalize and what we put out that is to blame for economic/political/societal failures. Capitalism will remain to be the best economical strategy because of the liberty it allows us to carry out the distribution of our services and products until a “better” (which seems very unlikely) means of selling, producing and exchanging of wealth, strategy arises.

  9. Keisha Jones-Charles says:

    Question 1:
    I believe that capitalism doesn’t fit in todays society. I believe in equal disbursement of capital. A lot of problems that we have today are due to the greed and continuing competition of human beings which all itself is natural. But as we all know that also means survival of the fittest and not everyone has the capabilities to strive and compete on the same playing field. I believe in communism. I believe that it builds a better society on the whole. Human beings are here to help each other while trying to live a comfortable life. Why not go that route. To me, that will make for a dramatic change in our economy and normal everyday lives.

  10. Levi McClellan says:

    In response to question 1.
    Capitalism is essential to our society simply because it keeps people competitive and striving to be better. capitalism allows people the chance to gain power, own their own business and an opportunity to be at the top of the socioeconomic ladder. Some people think this is a bad things as the question hints towards, but those who suffer because of capitalism are no different than those who would suffer because of communism or socialism or any type of society. in the natural world and man made society, there are always winners and losers, those who prosper and those who get left behind, however, with capitalism, there is always the possibility of upward mobility if one tries hard enough. Should capitalism be changed? I don’t think so. so far, I feel, capitalism is what drove the United states to become one of the worlds super powers and it is the competitive nature of capitalism that has kept us there and will continue to keep us at the top.

  11. Ques. 1
    I don’t think we still need capitalism if it is causing many people to suffer. “Big Business” is no longer involved in the process. We use to have a cycle where a business would make money and hire Americans to do their work, this would keep the money being made in the system, because that money would be then taken and spent in a local store, helping that store gain business. The local store would then purchase it’s merchandise from distributors, some foreign but some domestic. Either way it was products coming in so there was no fall off where the money going out wouldn’t equal the same amount of product coming in. However, now “Big Business” have put themselves out of the loop and broken the cycle. They are out sourcing at cheaper labor wages overseas. Which is all “well and good” except it is now creating unemployment and not putting money back into the Economy. Capitalism no longer works because of how much it has changed. If we had stuck to the old cycle things would have possibly continued on smoothly.

  12. Madiha Rao says:

    Question 3 response

    People began to challenge the earth’s position during the Scientific Revolution because new research revealed inaccuracies in the Church’s teachings. For example, the church believed in an egocentric model of the universe where all the planets revolved around the earth. The astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus proved scientifically the planets and the earth revolved around the sun heliocentrically. Also according to Christianity, the earth was surrounded by nine, hollow spheres that revolved around the earth and the first seven spheres consisted of all the planets, the sun and the moon. These heavenly bodies were supposed to be made up of pure substances that could not be changed or corrupted and orbited the earth in perfect circular revolutions.The scientist Johannes Kepler proved that that planets orbit was elliptical and not circular as previously thought and the scientist Galileo Galilei showed with his telescope that the planets were not perfect, flawless or smooth bodies. The heavenly bodies were also not supposed to be a part of the physical laws that governed the earth but the mathematician Isaac Newton showed that the heavenly bodies and the earth were both subject to gravity refuting yet another Christian doctrine. When Galilei looked through his telescope at the sky he saw four moons that orbited Jupiter and some stars that no one had known of before. The findings of Galilei revealed that the universe was bigger than expected and thanks to the findings of Newton, Galilei, Kepler and Copernicus, scientists now had a better understanding of the universe and they were inspired to learn and discover more about the unknown laws and bodies of the universe.

  13. Samantha Bryant says:

    In response to question # 1

    Capitalism is an economic system, based entirely upon the right to own private property, a free market economy and self determination. The fuel of capitalism is the competition and the relentless desire to expand the vast chasm between the rich and the poor, the educated and uneducated, the successful and the unsuccessful. Competition and failure is a necessary catalyst for an economic system of incentives; however this system has caused many people to die or to be displaced around the world. The Atlantic Slave Trade was fueled by the capitalism system. Free labor was advantageous to the wealthy, but it served as curse of continual oppression to others of social mobility; meaning that one can be born poor, but die rich; or one can be born into a family of uneducated peasants, but acquire education that propels him or her to acquire wealth. The capitalism system was an effective blue print for western civilization. However the system has become brutal and is entirely foundation of producing failure, inorder to make room and luxury for those who have made education a priority. I think capitalism is not suitable for today’s society, as it creates a class system and not equal society for all. Even though this is a system of self determination and free market one of the lower class many not have the essential backing or tools to propel or to “break their cycle.”

  14. Abdul Awal says:

    Absolute monarchy disappeared because it doesn’t give any freedom to average people. King or queen try to control peoples in every different way by taking peoples right. It gets corrupted because one person try to control the whole society biased on his or her choice only. Constitutional monarchy came to control society once absolutism disappeared. It makes the king or queen power weaker because it gives little rights and freedom to people. Constitutional monarchy still exists in many countries, especially in third world countries. Those countries government actually control people by using parliamentary system, and an average people can’t do anything about it.

  15. Aleksandr Ashurov says:

    3) When one tries to tell a story which has many inaccuracies people start to question it. The church has many scientific inaccuracies, most of which are downright ridiculous. In genesis, for instance, the moon is believed to be a source of light. We all know today that it simply reflects the light of the sun on its surface. There is also the “firmament” which is a roof over the planet earth that has a hatch. This roof keeps an infinite amount of water from spilling onto the planet. There is no such a thing. There was also the idea that everything revolved around our planet and that we were at the center of the universe. Galileo proved that theory wrong. The church, limited by its lack of knowledge of the universe, made up a ton of stories most of which can be proven wrong by modern science. Anyone with a critical eye and a rational mind can see these holes in the story. This is the main reason why the church began to finally lose its power over the people. Science freed them.

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